For those looking for a memorable way to greet 2022, a two-night celebration within the gardens of the Palace of Versailles is set to be special indeed. Described as “the world’s most luxurious New Year’s Eve party”, the program arranged at Airelles Château de Versailles hotel Le Grand Contrôle is all about making the most of the exclusive setting in the grounds surrounding the palace of the French kings.
Here is a place where history resonates. There are echoes of the opulence of the royal court and you can almost picture the jostling of those eager to catch the eye of the Sun King Louis XIV at the height of French power in Europe in the 17th century.
Created to impress and designed to magnify the status of an absolutist monarch, Versailles is on the grandest of scale from the sweep of its buildings, the explosion of its fountains to the extensive gardens which reach out as far as the eye can see. While these all still project the greatness of the monarchy, the events of the French Revolution were the days when the period of Versailles as the center of power and influence came to an abrupt end.
The hotel Le Grand Contrôle is in a building designed by Louis XIV’s favorite architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and completed in 1681. It has views out over the Orangerie, the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses and the Palace of Versailles itself.
In recent years, architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer has brought all of his ingenuity and flair to carry out a restoration of the hotel which now offers royal rooms and suites and a tranquil spa facility by Valmot complete with indoor pool.
Respecting the historic context of Le Grand Contrôle has shaped the entire process of its renewal so that it retains the look, feel and exuberant grandeur of the past.
At the heart of the planned New Year celebration is Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse’s idea to take those celebrating on a gastronomic journey through the centuries. The menu he has created is prepared with the idea of using the flavors and presentational style of the past and blending these with a number of contemporary creations.
Flamboyance in style is going to play a major part in recreating the atmosphere of a court banquet with all of its splendor and theatrical panache. The intimacy of the setting will add to the experience and there is extra attention to detail with the tableware provided from Alain Ducasse’s own private collection.
After the New Year’s Eve Feast, it will be time for those attending to move on to the Themed Ball. This will take place in the Chapel Bar where the softness of light from chandeliers and candelabras will bring back the ambience of the grand parties of the past. With music and dancing and champagne and cocktails – including the renowned “Royal Snowflake” with champagne poured over seasonal, scented granita – the mood will be right to step outside to see the gardens and Château lit up by fireworks announcing the arrival of the New Year.
Continuing the gastronomic theme, Le Grand Contrôle will lay on a New Year’s Day Royal Brunch featuring gourmet French classics and seasonal recipes. Resistance will be futile when faced by the sweet-treat dessert buffet where there is always something to delight the senses.
Those celebrating New Year at Versailles will also enjoy a private butler, tours of both the Château and the Trianon as well as access to the Palace grounds both before and after-hours. It is a rare chance to walk with kings and connect with the past while looking ahead to 2022.
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